As part of the pre-writing that I need to get done for NaNoWriMo, I spent some time last week scrapbooking my characters. This is definitely an exercise that I’d recommend if you’ve never done it before.
Before I did this exercise, I’d given some thought to my characters. For my main character and three main secondary characters, I knew what they liked and what they valued but I hadn’t nailed down their appearances. Now I have coloring, general height and build for each of them. I even have a pretty good idea what one character’s tatoo looks like. The funny thing? Before I did this, I didn’t know he had a tatoo.
I knew some of the baggage that he brought with him into the story. It’s the baggage that makes him such a mystery, but I didn’t know about the ink. As I was doing a variety of searches in Google Image, up popped a full back tattoo of a fallen angel. Oh. Wow. Absolute perfection.
This isn’t the only character that I learned about. My main character has a surprising hobby. Yes, it is something a lot of girls do but it isn’t something you usually associate with a tom boy.
The surprise that’s going to make the most work for me came in the form of a pair of fiddles. Two of my characters saw fit to let me in on the fact that they both play the fiddle. That’s awesome for the story but what I know about fiddles would fit in the case alongside the bow and the fiddle itself.
But the character that I learned the most about is my villain. All this time, I didn’t realize that I had never named him. I just called him Stepfather. Yes, it may be a bit cliché that the stepfather is the villain and because of that I’d let this character slide. But now that he has a name and a face and even a motivation . . . I can’t say that I like him any better than I did before but now I know why he does the jerky things that he does.
This was definitely a worthwhile exercise. This week I’ll be scrapbooking my settings. I’m sure I’ll learn a few things in the process.